Romain Grosjean was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Mexican Grand Prix and one more penalty point on his Superlicence after the first lap contact with Charles Leclerc during the United States Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Frenchman was battling with Racing Point Force India F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team racer Leclerc on the run down the back straight, but despite the Haas F1 Team driver braking early for the turn, he locked up his wheels and struck Leclerc’s car to earn the penalties.
Grosjean retired at the end of lap two with suspension damage, but the Frenchman is now only two points away from an automatic one-race ban as the stewards deemed him wholly responsible for the incident with the Sauber racer, who also suffered damage in the clash and later retired as a result of them.
He was apologetic to Leclerc for crashing into him and ruining both of their races, but he was also frustrated that he could not turn a top ten start into a points finish in Haas’ home Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
“I had a decent start,” said Grosjean. “There was a lot of action going on. I was fighting with Charles (Leclerc) and Esteban (Ocon). I got to turn 12 and I braked early because I was behind them.
“I didn’t want to take much risk, but I ended up in the dirty air and I couldn’t stop the car. I tried to avoid the contact as much as I could, but Charles was trying to get a good exit and I hit him.
“I feel sorry for Charles and I’m frustrated for the team. This being our home race, we wanted to do well. It’s not been a great afternoon.”